A Sad Excuse

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I don’t know about you, but I think Donald Trump is a sad excuse for a human being, much less as President of the United States and leader of the free world.

So when I recently heard a comedian, a former politician, a news commentator, and an editorial writer for a major metropolitan news paper say or write some quips about “The Donald” that resonated with me, I decided to post them right here on my little blog.

First there was comedian Bill Maher. He said on his HBO show the other night, “Once again, Donald Trump has taught us a valuable lesson: you can never be too rich to be white trash.”

Then I read that a former Mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, said he overheard a guy in a bar say, “Donald Trump handles politics the same way most people handle fireworks on the Fourth of July. Light the fuse and run like hell.”

On her weekend AM Joy show on MSNBC, Joy Reid said “Just when you think it can’t get any lower, Donald Trump redefines what rock bottom means.”

Finally, I read a comment in the editorial section of my local paper this morning. It read, “President Trump further demeans the office with a vile, misogynous tweet attacking MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski. His dignity is hemorrhaging badly.”

As we get set to celebrate the birth of our nation here in the U.S., let’s hope that this won’t be our last true Independence Day as a free nation. The way things are going, next year at this time we may be a member nation of the Russian Federation.

And that’s no joke.

Facts Versus Truth

Facts and Truth

When I first read Faulkner’s quote (above), I was perplexed. I had always considered “facts” and “truth” to be synonyms. Even the definitions of the two words cross-reference one another:

Fact: something that actually exists; reality; truth.
Truth: conformity with fact or reality; a verified or indisputable fact.

Facts are used as proof of what is undeniably “the truth,” but are these words truly interchangeable or do they actually have different meanings and usage?

I was curious enough about the similarities and differences between these two words to do some Google research. And I learned that not everyone believes that they are synonymous. Some folks actually differentiate between the them using diametrically opposed logic.

One site argued that facts can be fleeting, enduring for but a moment. For example, the “fact” of someone’s location on a fast-moving train changes every instant. Truth, on the other hand is a more enduring type of fact, this source claimed.

Another site argued that if it’s a fact now, it will be a fact in the future, whereas truth is more temporal. Facts indicate a universal truth, while truth depends upon temporal circumstances. For example, that the sun appears to always rise in the east and set in the west is a fact. It will never change.

I found an interesting site, differencebetween.net, which provided four facts (or truths?) about facts and truths:

  • Facts are more objective when compared to the more subjective truths.
  • Facts are more permanent when compared to the more temporary truths.
  • Facts exist in reality, whereas truths are usually the things that one believes to be true, or the things that are true in the current situation.
  • Facts can also answer the ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘how’ questions, whereas truths answer the ‘why’ question.

Truthiness

And then there is “truthiness,” a word first coined by Stephen Colbert a dozen years ago. Like when Bill Maher says, “I don’t know it for a fact…I just know it’s true,” truthiness is the quality of seeming to be true based upon one’s intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic or factual evidence. It’s when someone feels, believes, or wishes that something is true even when it is not supported by the facts.

So with both facts and truth under siege by Donald Trump and his surrogates, and with “alternative facts” and “false truths” being promulgated, I  have to wonder if Faulkner’s statement was extremely prescient and sadly reflective of where we are in the second decade of the 21st century.

So what do you think? Are the words “fact” and “truth” synonyms? Do you use them interchangeably in your oral and written communications? Or do these two words, as Faulkner believes, have little to do with each another?

And in today’s world, where truthiness means more to a lot of people than either facts or truth, does it even matter anymore?